Explore Marrakech Through These 9 Architectural Gems

Explore Marrakech Through These 9 Architectural Gems
Jamaa el Fnaa Market Square, Marrakech, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

With its many splendid buildings, this ancient city is like an exhibition gallery of architectural diversity

Nikita Nikhil
May 11 , 2020
22 Min Read

Nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s 'Red City' is known for a unique architectural style which has European, African and Arab influences. From an elegant, contemporay airport which is derived from vernacular traditions to ancient palaces and mosques, here's a tour of Marrakech through its architectural gems.  

Marrakech Menara Airport

Facade of  Marrakech Menara Airport

Interior of Marrakech Menara Airport

 
 
 
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Details of the Marrakech Menara Airport

A fusion of contemporary architecture and Moroccan traditions, the airport is best known for its innovative façade which filters light through the arabesques that cover the windows. The striking frontage features 24 rhombuses and three triangles with ancient yet stylised Islamic ornamental motifs. 

La MamouniaDeparture hall of Marrakech Menara Airport

Entrance of the La Mamounia Palace

Courtyard of the La Mamounia Palace

Pool facility at the La Mamounia Palace

La Mamounia Palace interior

Exterior gardens at the La Mamounia Palace


Interior of a suite at La Mamounia Palace

This exquisite hotel used to be a former royal estate (from the 12th century) and its blend of art deco and Moorish design has been the backdrop in several films, including the Hitchcock classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much

Yves Saint Laurent

Exterior of Yves Saint Laurent Museum

 
 
 
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Atelier of Yves Saint Laurent in Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Dedicated to Parisian designer Yves Saint Laurent, this museum is a fusion of fashion and architecture. Its façade incorporates textured terracotta brickwork designed to reflect the warp and weft of fabric. The textile theme continues in the entrance hall with smooth white walls resembling the velvety lining of a couture jacket. 

The Tiskiwin Museum

 
 
 
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This two-storeyed riad (a traditional Moroccan house) and museum was founded in 1996 by Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint who set out on a journey to study about rural culture. He travelled from Marrakech to Timbuktu via the High Atlas collecting textiles, ceramics, furniture, carpets and other indigenous crafts. This eclectic collection is now displayed in this structure inspired by Spanish/Moroccan architectural styles.

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque

 

 
 
 
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Side view of Koutoubia Mosque

Entrance to the Koutoubia Mosque

The largest mosque in Marrakech and a UNESCO world heritage site, this one known for its intricate 12th century tilework and the traditional, 253-feet high Almohad style minaret adorned with four copper globes. It has been an inspiration for other buildings like the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. 

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Main Yard of Ben Youssef Madrasa


Oriental window carvings at the Ben Youssef Madrasa

 
 
 
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“You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded” reads a beautiful inscription on the entrance to this exquisite architectural gem. The largest madrasa in North Africa, its vast, roofless courtyard with a view of an azure sky features marble work, carved cedarwood, and horseshoe archways.  

Dar Si Said

Inside Dar Si Said Museum


Beautiful islamic decorations on the wall and multicolored glasses inside Dar Si Said Museum

 
 
 
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Also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, the Dar Si Said Museum is a fine 19th-century masterpiece representing Moroccan architecture with elaborate tiled mosaics, filigree carved wooden ceilings and stucco work. 

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs


Intricate tile work over the tombs

 

 
 
 
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Constructed during the reign of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603), these tombs were neglected for almost two centuries after the fall of the Saadians. It was only in 1917 that a French aerial photography survey spotted the ruins and restored them for public display. Over 170 graves of Moroccan prince and princesses can be found here decorated with coloured tiles and Quranic inscriptions. 

Bahia Palace

Courtyard of Bahia Palace


Beautifully decorated walls and floors with the traditional Moroccan mosaic at Bahia Palace


An old decorated white wall in Bahia Palace

A painted wooden ceiling in the Bahia Palace

Decorated wooden architecture in the Bahia Palace

Artisans across Andalusia and North Africa were employed in the construction process of this palace whose rooms feature carved cedar and zouak painted ceilings. Works of subtle stucco panels, zellige tile decorations and tadelakt finishes can be found all over this beautiful structure.


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